The story of the Miami Sony Open tournament this year was Tommy Haas. The German veteran who was outside the Top 140 a year ago was the big surprise stunning World No. 1 Novak Djokovic en route to the Sony Open semifinals.
Twice having a break lead in the final set against David Ferrer yesterday afternoon, Haas couldn’t finish off the Spaniard. Despite the disappointing defeat, the 34-year-old Haas who has suffered through an endless run of injuries was overjoyed with his results in Miami this week.
“Beating Novak Djokovic, coming back, beating Simon, getting to the semis,” Haas said. “It’s been an unbelievable tournament, something that, you know, I will definitely cherish for the rest of my life. I’ll continue and I will try to get better and take this momentum to the next weeks and months, try to stay healthy. This is what it’s all about for me, you know, going out in front of a packed house like that, playing the best players, and still feeling like I have a chance and playing good matches. That makes me happy, and I will try to continue as long as I can, because this is a lot of fun.”
Haas opened up about what his career has been like with all the setbacks and injuries.
“I try to sometimes look at it maybe with compared to like Andy Roddick’s career,” Haas said. “He came up at 18, playing 25, 30 weeks every year. He was one of the most consistent players on the tour. When he retired last year at the US Open I was sort of shocked when he announced it. But at the same time, if I would put myself in his shoes, how consistent he was so many years and how he was still trying to just, you know, win the next slam or big tournaments, and maybe he felt like that ship has sailed. Maybe it was just too much for him, and he just said, I’m done.
“But he was consistently playing year in and year out, top 10, getting far in the tournaments, making the Masters every year, playing deep in the Davis Cup. So there was a lot of tennis, a lot of yards. My career is totally different. It was up and down. You know, I had like not that I wanted it, but in between I had 15 months off. Not a great 15 months, because it’s not like I think it’s also different when you, as an athlete, say, I need four months off, I need to regroup myself and work on something in the gym and practice and just sort of, you know, build myself up.
“I was always going in the other direction. In the end of the day you try to avoid surgery as much as you can, but then I had surgery, another surgery, and you’ve gone for 15 months and you try to come back. You don’t even know when you’re going to come back. You have to rebuild your ranking, try to get into position. Then I was thrown back another shoulder surgery and hip surgery. It’s really it’s frustrating.
“But I’m still around. That’s what makes me most proud in some ways, because I feel like I can still prove to myself that I can keep coming back and still can, you know, feel like I can still play with the best of them. That makes me happy.”
Haas shrugged off any ideas that this was his final season. He’ll be ranked in the Top 16 as of Monday and that will open up a lot of opportunities for events and for endorsements.
“I don’t look forward and I don’t look in the back, the past,” Haas said. “My next tournament now is Houston. I’m going to have a nice little vacation next week and regroup and recharge the battery and look forward to the clay court season. Obviously have some goals there in the big tournaments and go back to grass, which I look forward to, and US Open hard court season and already looking again at Asia and indoor season, and Thanksgiving and Christmas. It’s already the year is over. It goes really fast, trust me. The time that I have off I try to be a good father and a good husband, and that’s it. You know, then hopefully I’m still healthy and fit and eager to go for 2014.”
Haas is a former World No. 2 and a 3-time Grand Slam semifinalist. He turns 35 next week.
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